- Serves: 4
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Effort: hard
- 4 oven-ready squab pigeons
- black pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 40 g unsalted butter, clarified
- 1 litres chicken stock, (preferably homemade)
- 20 shallots, peeled and poached
- 150 g smoked bacon, cut into short strips
- game chips, to serve
- bread sauce, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6. Season the squabs with salt and pepper. Place a crushed garlic clove, thyme sprig and a sprig of elderberries in the cavity of each squab. Tie up the birds for roasting.
2. In a large, heavy-based frying pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil with 20g clarified butter. Fry the squabs over medium-high heat until browned on all sides.
3. Transfer the squabs and the pan juices to a roasting tin. Roast for 15 minutes, basting often. Remove the squabs and let them rest for a few minutes.
4. Carve the legs and breasts off the squabs. Return the squab legs to the roasting tin and roast for a further 5 minutes. Meanwhile, keep the squab breasts warm.
5. Chop up the squab carcasses. Add the carcasses to the large frying pan used for browning the squabs. Add most of the elderberries, reserving about a third for later use. Add the chicken stock.
6. Bring the stock mixture to a rapid boil. Skim and cook briskly until reduced by a half. Sieve the sauce and pour into a saucepan. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the reserved elderberries, cooking gently until heated through.
7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil and clarified butter in a large heavy-based frying pan. Fry the shallots and bacon strips, stirring often, until the shallots are golden-brown on all sides.
8. Serve the squab breasts and legs with the fried shallots and bacon and the elderberry sauce, accompanied by game chips and bread sauce.
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